Huge Light Signal Leads to the Discovery of a Supermassive Black Hole

Huge Light Signal Leads to the Discovery of a Supermassive Black Hole

Once considered to be only cosmic monsters that you must avoid at all cost if you want to make it out alive, supermassive black holes (SMBHs) are now known to have a tremendous role in the existence of the galaxies themselves. Astronomers even suspect that there’s a supermassive black hole at the centre of each galaxy.

The active galactic nuclei (AGN) is the bright phase of some SMBHs, and it now receives all attention. According to, scientists from Tohoku University, including Kohei Ichikawa, may have discovered an AGN almost at the end of its life span. It all happened accidentally when the scientists detected the AGN signal coming from the galaxy known as Arp 187.

Two powerful telescopes were used

The scientists found a sign of AGN after analyzing radio images of the galaxy using two powerful tools: the Very Large Array (VLA) and Atacama Large Milimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).

“We used the NASA NuSTAR X-ray satellite, the best tool to observe current AGN activity,” said Ichikawa. “It enables non-detection, so we were able to discover that the nucleus is completely dead.”

Arp 187 is both a galaxy and merger remnant located all the way in the Eridanus constellation. We’re also talking about an interacting galaxy pair (MCG-02-13-040), and it takes part in the Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies in the category of galaxies with narrow filaments.

Eridanus is a constellation located in the southern celestial hemisphere, and it’s represented by a river. Eridanus was also one of the 48 constellations listed by Ptolemy, who was an astronomer from the 2nd century.


Even since he was a child, Cristian was staring curiously at the stars, wondering about the Universe and our place in it. Today he's seeing his dream come true by writing about the latest news in astronomy. Cristian is also glad to be covering health and other science topics, having significant experience in writing about such fields.

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